Macaroni angels: a tutorial not for the faint of heart.
When I was about nine years old, my mom went on a Christmas ornament-making binge. This in itself isn’t unusual; Mom is very creative, though she doesn’t let it out nearly enough, and Christmas has always been an opportunity for her to shine. I remember that particular Christmas, however, because that was the year of the macaroni angels.
Mom slaved away for hours. Days, in fact. At the end of it, she had produced several dozen perfect little macaroni angels, made of four different kinds of pasta, white enamel paint, and wooden beads. I was too young to understand why I wasn’t allowed to help with this specific craft, and I have wanted Mom to do this one again now that I’m older and am certain I would be a better helper. So last Christmas, as the last two surviving macaroni angels were visibly chipped and damaged, I demanded we craft these anew. With a turn of good luck, Mom found the right sized farfalle, and we were ready to go.
In the end, this craft took:
-three days of crafting
-four adults working on them
-one-and-a-half tubes of smelly glue
-enough ingenuity to create something far more useful, like a cold fusion machine.
I’ve shared the tutorial below; if you’d like to see the ‘director’s cut’ account of how the crafting went, complete with fumbles and bloopers, head over to the NEST to see the post in all its glory.
Let me walk you through it.
YOU WILL NEED:
-penne rigatoni pasta
-gorgonzola pasta (or chop up macaroni into quarters)
-glue gun and glue
-wood beads for heads
-white enamel paint (not acrylic)
-extra-fine tipped sharpie or other permanent felt tip pen
-fishing line and scissors
DAY ONE: ASSEMBLY
1. Use your E-6000 glue to:
-attach the head bead to the penne body,
-roll the head in the gorgonzola, after applying glue to the head, to make hair,
-glue on the farfalle wings,
-glue on the macaroni arms.
2. Let them dry, preferably for a couple days to be sure the glue is set and isn’t off-gassing.
DAY TWO: BEADS AND PAINT
3. Pull out your glue gun and glue a bead onto the head of each angel. This is where the string will go through.
4. String fishing line through each bead and tie a good knot. If you still have E-6000 glue (and your partner hasn’t hid it on you), you can dab the knot with some glue to make it permanent.
5. Hang the angels off of a dowel, broom, or other stick-like thing. This isn’t strictly necessary, but it helps detangle the fishing line.
6. Dip each angel, one by one, into the enamel paint. You may need to take a paint brush and fill in little areas that somehow elude the paint.
7. Hang each angel onto a dowel, broom handle, etc. Beware: the angels will require more ‘breathing room’ from each other than they did before. Let dry for at least a day.
DAY THREE: FACES AND TOUCHUPS AND GLAMOUR
8. Inspect each angel, now dry (and no longer soggy, if you accidentally used acrylic paint), for any exposed pasta. Use a paint brush to fill in these little spots.
9. Grab your Sharpie and draw a little pair of eyes. If you look at our troops, every angel is a little different because no one could follow instructions; but I have more faith in you out there, so here they are: draw two smiles from two happy faces for eyes. Add some eyelashes if you feel like it. Now put the pen down.
10. Hot glue fun things into the angel’s hands: harps, books, holly, pompoms, etc.
SUCCESS: A HOST OF ANGELS
In the end, we had one hundred perfect little angels. Do you remember that scene in Star Wars: Attack of the Clones when Obi-Wan Kenobi sees all the lines of identical storm troopers that those weird tall aliens have been manufacturing? Take a good look at the rows of angels. Yeah, there’s a parallel there. What I loved about this craft was doing it with my mom. I agree wholeheartedly with her that this is not a kid’s craft, so I completely understand why I couldn’t help out when I was little, though even then, it was fascinating to watch her work. But now, as an adult, learning one of my mother’s secrets arts, the experience had a feeling of deep importance. I have inherited my mother’s ability to MacGyver a pile of sequins, pipecleaners, pompoms, and toothpicks into an adorable chotchkie; and for this I’m eternally grateful. Mom’s ability to craft something out of nothing has always been an enviable brand of witchcraft that I hope I will one day master as she has done.